'We want to play against India and cricket should be kept away from politics' - Bismah Maroof
Bismah Maroof, Pakistan women's team captain, has urged India to keep cricket away from politics. Despite the unchanging stance of Pakistan cricketers and administrators, there haven't been any notable headways in resuming cricket between the neighbouring countries.
Pakistan women's team will tussle for ascendency against England in Malaysia next month in the ICC Women's Championship but they won't be playing against their arch-rivals.
"India is a competitive side and we want to play them and I think they should keep cricket away from politics," said Bismah.
India has avoided Pakistan twice in the championship rounds and refused the suggestion of playing at a neutral venue.
Nida Dar has returned after a successful stint with the Sydney Thunders at the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL). Her invaluable experience in the T20 league could help Pakistan in their next year World Cup campaign in Australia which will get rolling from February 15.
"The World Cup is in Australia and Nida's experience will be instrumental for us."
"The [England] series will help us prepare for the World Cup and it's very important for us to earn championship points," said skipper Bismah Maroof.
"We will strive to make it to the final of Twenty20 World Cup as we have prepared well and have also worked on the power-hitting department. The combination of youngsters and experienced players is great."
The skipper also shared players' misfortune as they are usually forced to play their home games in other countries which deprives them of home advantage—a significant factor in competitive sports.
"It is a disadvantage because we lose the home advantage and if we can play at home regularly against visiting teams, it will help us promote women's cricket and raise the standards. West Indies and Bangladesh series have been successful and we hope the other teams will [follow suit]," she added.
Pakistan enjoyed playing against Bangladesh in their backyard and had a successful outing.
"The more we play at home against international sides, the more we will see girls coming forward into the game. The energy level was high and the entire team was in good spirits while playing at home," she remarked.
'We hope [Sana] returns to cricket soon' - Bismah
About the changes in coaching staff in the last few months, with Iqbal Imam being promoted to head coach position, Bismah said since Iqbal has been working with the team from last six months, it has been a smooth transition after Mark Coles resignation.
"Iqbal Imam has been with the team from last six months so he had been working with the team. He has a strong technical insight which helps me in captaincy and the team is comfortable with him."
Sana Mir, the pioneer of women's cricket in Pakistan, has been an important cog in the wheel in the team's success over the years but the all-rounder has taken an indefinite break from cricket and so she won't be available for the stern challenge against England.
"Sana is an experienced performer and we will miss her and hope she returns to cricket soon but it's her personal decision to take a break from cricket so we should respect that," Bismah told reporters.
Pakistan's national women’s team will leave for Malaysia on November 30 from Karachi.